Click photo to enlarge
Egg artist Geetika Bansal turns eggs into treasured gems. (Courtesy of Geetika Bansal)

It's time once again for my holiday grab bag of seasonal tidbits, random hobbit news and annual UFO update.

First, the UFOs: I haven't seen any, and NORAD's too busy tracking Santa this time of year to be of any help. There was at least word out last week that "alien-like" elongated skulls were recently unearthed in a 1,000-year-old cemetery in Mexico, though buzz-killing scientists claim the conical remains were merely human. If so, they were likely from France.

Regardless, I shall continue to watch the skies for signs of life, and thank heavens there's plenty of time to do so, seeing as how the world didn't end and all. Again.

My oh Mayans

Egg artist Geetika Bansal turns eggs into treasured gems.  (Courtesy of Geetika Bansal)
Egg artist Geetika Bansal turns eggs into treasured gems. (Courtesy of Geetika Bansal) ( Picasa )

Yes, we're all still here. Or are we? Maybe we just think we are and we're really living in a "Matrix" style realm inside our own little eggshells of consciousness. Well, if I'm living in an eggshell, I'd like it to be one of Geetika Bansal's.

She's a San Jose artist and mom who works full time and "eggs" on the side. This kind of egging has nothing to do with Nelson Muntz or Principal Skinner's house. Nor does it resemble the blown egg I made in Miss Warnock's class at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School in which I pinpricked the shell and blew and blew until I had Dizzy Gillespie cheeks and dizzy spells, then painted the egg brown with a big mustache and topped it off with a little papier-mache sombrero. I called him Señor Huevo, a distant cousin of the Frito Bandito. Hey, it was a different time.

No, Geetika's "Art in an Eggshell" eggs, happily, are nothing like this. She creates fabulous Faberge-style masterpieces: jewelry boxes, clocks, ornaments, merry-go-rounds, all with intricate openings and delicate beadings that take an average of 20 to 40 hours, and more patience than Santa has magic. Check them out at www.geetikas.com. They'll "blow" your mind. Into Dizzy Gillespie cheeks.

Going native

Inside my egg world -- or maybe she's really real -- lives a lady in Danville who has a crèche crush. Joan Hamblin has more than 150 nativity scenes from around the world. It all started with a small one her mom bought years ago at JC Penney, then in the mid-1990s Joan visited the annual Palo Alto crèche display and went crèche crazy. Now she belongs to the national "Friends of the Crèche" group that holds conventions where people share nativity news. Who knew? One of her favorite scenes is from Alaska. "It is made out of plaster of Paris and the worshiping animals are all walrus, seal, moose," she said.

And therein lies the tale of the traditional Christmas Walrus.

Bully for you

So I was watching "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" the other night, and it dawned on me that most of the Christmas specials are all about bullies. I mean, "all the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names," and the head elf is mean to the poor little dentist elf, and the only character we are told is evil and bad -- the Abominable -- is actually just misguided and in tooth pain. Even Santa shuns Rudolph until he turns out to be useful, and then "all the reindeer love him," but just because he's tight with Santa. What kind of message is that?

At least with Charlie Brown, all the gang learns a lesson about the true meaning of Christmas. But why are they so mean to Charlie in the first place? He doesn't do anything wrong. He's just kind of boring. And then there's Scrooge. A total bully, until he gets paranormally bullied into kindness. The Grinch is more of a petty thief than a bully, but still. I have no idea what any of this means. I'm just saying.

Helpful hobbits

Fortunately there are no bullying orcs or trolls in the Shire of the Santa Cruz Mountains where sisters Alex and Kellie Rice reside (they're nicknamed Fili and Kili after the dwarven siblings in "The Hobbit"). They produce a web series called "Happy Hobbit" (www.facebook.com/TORnHappyHobbit) exploring ways to bring Middle-earth into your daily life. I watched the one about cooking acorns. Let's just say there's a reason the song goes "chestnuts" roasting on an open fire, and not acorns.

"Those acorns were so bitter, and unbeknown to the viewers, I boiled them six times before finally giving up and throwing them out! I'm sure the deer will still appreciate them," said Kili. Or was it Fili?

Oh well, have a happy, hobbity, huevos-filled, bully-free holiday everyone! And keep watching the skies. Or France.

Contact Angela Hill at ahill@bayareanewsgroup.com, or follow her on Twitter @giveemhill.